During the holidays I stopped in at a used book store and came across a wonderful photography book by Canadian artist, Roloff Beny. ‘To Every Thing There is a Season: Roloff Beny in Canada’ is a photographic essay exploring Canada during the 1960’s. The book contains poems, landscapes, portraits, architecture, and graphic design that is visionary for the time it was printed. Like a Boards of Canada album, the book puts my mind in a cozy, nostalgic place.
A little research reveals that the book was the official Canadian gift to visiting heads of state during the country’s 1967 centennial year. He’s also authored a number of other acclaimed photography books I’m hoping to pick-up in the near future.
Beny’s work is included in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 1971, he was made an officer of The Order of Canada. In 1984, at the age of 60, Beny passed away from a heart attack in his Roman studio overlooking the Tiber.
You can view a more complete set of photos in this FLICKR SET I put together.
Inspired by a recent episode of Roman Mars’ wonderful podcast 99% Invisible, I sought out a few images of WWI-era “dazzle” ship camouflage. Rather than blending a target with its surrounding colors and textures, dazzle (aka “razzle dazzle” or “dazzle painting”) deliberately caused ships to clash with the sea and sky, creating eye-aching shimmer effects and making it difficult to discern the craft’s direction, speed, and distance. The hope—and it was a hope, as dazzle inventor Norman Wilkinson’s theories were never properly proven—was that the bedazzle’d ships would so confuse enemy submarines that their torpedoes would never meet their mark. The nautical old guard, as one would expect, rejected Wilkinson’s sweetly cracked vision; the artists of the era’s burgeoning Cubist movement, however, were utterly delighted.
I recently acquired some concrete art form Concrete Cat. They keep impressing me with the things they are doing in concrete. From a clock collaboration with Furni to Matt Heide’s Concrete Tactile Painting to larger furniture and counter tops. I love seeing an artist evolve with their craft as they push the limits of its intended purpose.
New Jersey photographer Stacy Swiderski’s series Suburban Nights depicts aluminum-sided houses, above-ground pools, yards, and family cars shrouded in the purple light of dusk and the clear black of midnight. Illumination comes from sodium-yellow streetlamps, or fresh snowfall’s iridescent blue. The most noticeable thing about these photographs—apart from their silky, hyper-real color scheme—is their lack of people. Swiderski’s lonely landscapes carry a familiar melancholy for anyone who grew up in these sorts of places (myself included), and I can’t get enough of the eerie calm and—maybe I’m projecting here—subtle menace of her images.
I remember the first time I laid eyes on a photo of Brasilia. I actually thought it was from a science fiction movie or computer generated 3D model. In fact, it’s still hard to believe these buildings really exist on our planet today.
Yesterday, the legendary architect behind Brasilia and many more modernist works of art, passed away at the age of 104.
Oscar Niemeyer was an architect by trade, but his buildings embodied much more than the engineering or utility behind them; they were, to borrow a phrase I read in a recent obituary, “a poetic vision of the future.”
And nowhere was Oscar’s vision better demonstrated than in Brasilia, a planned utopia conceived in Brazil’s interior that resembles a spaceport more than anything we might recognize as a city. In fact, after flying over Brasilia’s futuristic presidential palace and modular ministries in 1961, Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut and first man in space, said “the impression was like arriving on another planet.”
The photos presented here are from two photographers and sources. Marcel Gautherot’s photos of ‘The Construction of Brasilia’ are sourced from an Arch Daily article you should read and see. The others are from Rene Burri, and you can view more of them through Magnum Photo’s website.
Nenad Saljic’s study of the north face of the Matterhorn is absolutely stunning work. Over the course of three years, the Croatian photographer has captured this iconic Alp no less than a few thousands times.
Using a black and white medium, Nenad masterfully demonstrates how weather, light and composition can drastically change a photographic subject through time.
Nenad states, “I want my images to compress the passing of time – the beauty of the wind and the clouds dancing around the mountain.”
You can read about and view more of these amazing Matterhorn images on his portfolio.
Amazing photos from a new book on Balthazar Korab’s architectural photography.
Emigrating to the US from Hungary in 1955, Korab was initially hired by Eero Saarinen as a designer, but his skills as a photographer quickly took center stage stage and he effectively became Saarinen’s in-house photographer, using photography as a tool for design development in addition to documentation of finished works.
While of course featuring many of Saarinen’s iconic buildings, the book also shows Korab’s commissioned photos of works by Corb, Mies, Kahn, Frank Lloyd Wright….
If I’m ever in need of inspiration, the National Film Board of Canada’s website is an absolute goldmine of films ranging from the 1930’s to present. For myself, it’s their documentary nature films in particular that capture the imagination.
This film is a short doc about Canada’s arctic from the NFB’s earlier years (c1958). I’m considering posting a few more of these over the next few weeks, so I’d be interested in knowing what you think.